Lake Norman & Mooresville

Women's group unites moms, young families

For those of us who are mothers of young children, life seems a continuous cycle of "making": making beds, making lunches, making peace when siblings argue over who got the bigger cookie.

There's a group of young women at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, however, who also are making connections.

Circle 10 meets each month to share, discuss and grow in spirit as they journey through this hectic part of their lives together.

Circle 10's monthly meetings begin with some simple icebreakers to learn about each other, then move on to prayer concerns. The cornerstone of each meeting is a book discussion.

Much dialogue follows about how to find spirituality in the midst of hectic lives with young families.

Stephnie Shryock, who moderates the group along with Autumn Michael, thinks most women who get involved with Circle 10 are looking to bond with others who are adjusting to motherhood.

"After women have their first children, they can feel a bit isolated. It's a great time to realize that you are traveling this path with others," said Shryock. "I really think there's a lot of truth in the saying 'It takes a village,' and it's so helpful to have a support network."

Though many may join when their children are young, they stay on as their kids age. Of the 30 or so women involved, kids range in age from birth to middle school.

Circle 10 also focuses on helping others in need. When two of its members' children were afflicted with cancer, the group set up a Cookies for Kids Cancer stand at the Davidson Halloween March. In two hours, the stand raised more than $700 to donate to pediatric cancer research.

In addition, the group emphasizes daily service, whether it be delivering homemade stews and casseroles, taking snacks to the Ada Jenkins Center or helping residents celebrate birthdays at The Pines retirement community.

Over time, their friendships have grown. Maggie Thwaites, who organized the Cookies service project, said she enjoys being a part of Circle 10 "because I feel comfort being surrounded by women who not only share my faith but also share the same passion to serve our community."

"Although we may not see each other on a daily basis," said Thwaites, "many of us have been able to rely on our 'sisters' during challenging times and various life events."

Member Stephanie Rollans agrees: "Our circle provides a small group atmosphere with a close-knit feel. Together, we share our personal stories and struggles and we celebrate our triumphs and joys."